The win did not come easy as Downs were made to sweat, particularly in the first stanza where the minnows proved to be very stubborn at the back.
Vaal coach Stanford Nkoane fielded three defenders to absorb the waves of attack against Sundowns.
The Brazilians launched attack after attack but VUT’s resistance frustrated the former African champions and the frustration was visible on the Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane’s face and he was an animated figure in the dugout. Mosimane’s team was made up of players who usually warm the bench or are spectators from the grand stands.
In the second half, the hosts showed their experience and as they netted the first goal through defender and captain on the day, Wayne Arendse. The veteran centre-back pounced on a Ali Meza corner kick to head Bafana Ba Style into the lead.
Vaal had an opportunity to equalizer when they were handed a penalty but Reitumetse Hlongwane ballooned the spot-kick over the crossbar.
Mosimane then went on to make a couple of changes where he brought on Aubrey Ngoma and Phakamani Mahlambi. Just seven minutes after Mahlambi came on he was already causing headaches for Vaal’s defenders with his pace on and off the ball movement.
Mahlambi netted Downs’ second goal in the 70th minute. His goal was not the most tidiest as he toe-poked from a rebound of Lebohang Maboe’s shot. A couple of minutes later, Mahlambi gave the Dows technical team a bit of a scare when he was taken down by one of Vaal’s players with a rash tackle down the right flank.
Mahlambi appeared to be in so much pain but after he was assessed by the Brazilians’ medical team, he soldiered on.